Press Release courtesy of the Big Ten Conference
All 14 Big Ten volleyball teams wrap up conference play this week with 13 matches set to air on either BTN or BTN Plus.
• Heading into the final week of the season, two programs are in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship. Nebraska and Penn State are tied at the top of the standings, each boasting a 17-1 conference record with two matches left to play.
• Six Big Ten programs earned spots in the latest AVCA coaches poll, with four teams ranked among the top 10: No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 16 Purdue. Illinois and Michigan are receiving votes in the poll.
• Since the 2012 season, four Big Ten schools (Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin) have been ranked No. 1 in the AVCA coaches poll a total of 49 weeks. During that span, the Nittany Lions have earned the top spot 27 times.
• Eleven Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI as of Monday, including six of the top 25: No. 4 Penn State, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan State, No. 25 Purdue, No. 28 Illinois, No. 30 Michigan, No. 42 Ohio State, No. 46 Iowa and No. 47 Maryland.
• Based on past opponents’ winning percentage, Ohio State has played the third-toughest schedule in the nation, while Wisconsin has played the fourth-toughest schedule. Purdue is 16th on the list, Nebraska is 17th, Minnesota is 18th and Michigan checks in at No. 19 out of 334 teams.
• Following a pair of conference victories over the weekend, Penn State extended its win streak to 17 matches and currently leads the nation in winning percentage (.964). Penn State’s only loss this season was at Nebraska, the national average attendance leader, on Sept. 22. The Nittany Lions have only given up a total of seven sets in 17 matches since the loss.
• Following a win over Rutgers on Nov. 12, Nebraska extended its nation-leading home win streak to 27 matches. The Huskers have sold out 233 consecutive regular-season matches at home and lead the nation in attendance again with 8,203 fans per match.
• Nine Big Ten volleyball standouts were named to the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District Volleyball Team as announced by CoSIDA: Iowa’s Annika Olsen, Michigan’s Jenna Lerg and Carly Skjodt, Michigan State’s Alyssa Garvelink and Rachel Minarick, Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter and Sydney Townsend, Penn State’s Haleigh Washington and Purdue’s Ashley Evans.
• Wisconsin senior Kelli Bates joined the 1,000-career kill club, becoming just the sixth Badger in program history to record 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. The outside hitter also ranks 18th among UW students in kills (1,019) and ninth (1,278) in digs.
• Penn State middle blocker Haleigh Washington became the ninth player in school history and 45th in Big Ten annals to record 500 career blocks on Oct. 25. In the Nittany Lions’ four-set victory over No. 9 Wisconsin, Washington posted 14 kills, eight blocks, four digs and hit .448.
• Michigan State setter Rachel Minarick became the third player in school history and 45th in Big Ten annals to record 4,000 career assists on Oct. 21. In the Spartans’ straight-set victory over Maryland, Minarick posted 39 assists, three kills, hit .400, posted 10 digs, and an ace in the match to earn her fifth double-double.
• Big Ten teams currently occupy six of the top 15 positions on the national team hitting percentage list, including three of the top-10 spots. Penn State leads the country with a .355 hitting percentage, followed by Purdue (.308) in eighth and Wisconsin (.300) in ninth. Minnesota checks in at No. 12, hitting at a .286 clip, while Nebraska and Illinois round out the list tied for 14th in the NCAA, each boasting a .281 team hitting percentage.
• A pair of Big Ten students currently occupy two of the top five spots nationally in hitting percentage. Penn State’s Academic All-American Haleigh Washington leads the Big Ten and the nation with a .517 hitting percentage, while Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke ranks fourth, hitting at a clip of .445.
• Three active Big Ten coaches have recorded at least 600 career wins: Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,240), Nebraska’s John Cook (653) and Michigan State’s Cathy George (617). Rose currently ranks second among active Division I coaches in career victories, while Cook and George rank 15th and 18th, respectively. Michigan’s Mark Rosen continues to close in on the milestone, amassing 591 career victories so far and checking in at No. 22.
• Based on average attendance, the Big Ten currently has seven of the nation’s top 15 teams, including five of the top 10. Nebraska leads the nation, averaging 8,203 fans per contest, Wisconsin is third with 5,975, Minnesota is fourth at 4,970, Penn State is fifth with 3,615, while Michigan State checks in at No. 8 with 3,146 patrons per contest. Illinois (2,639) and Purdue (2,392) round out the top 15 at No. 11 and No. 15, respectively.
• The media credential application for the 2017 Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship is now available. Media interested in covering the event can log on to ncaa.com/media and access the credential application via the link under the credential icon.